By Sam Bush
The Phillies haven’t announced the signing of front-line starter Jake Arrieta because he must pass a physical, but the New York Times has the details of his deal:
Arrieta will earn $30 million this season, $25 million in 2019 and $20 million in 2020, and can trigger an opt-out clause after 2019. But the Phillies can void the opt-out by guaranteeing two more years — 2021 and 2022 — with salaries of at least $20 million for each. With incentives, Arrieta’s total payout could reach $135 million for five years.
Arrieta’s agent, Scott Boras, negotiated similar deals this winter for Eric Hosmer with San Diego and J.D. Martinez with Boston; both contracts have higher salaries in the early years of the contract, and give the player at least one chance to opt out.
Other former Cy Young Award winners in their 30s have landed far more lucrative deals than Arrieta in recent years, including David Price (seven years, $217 million with Boston) and Zack Greinke (six years, $206.5 million). But those contracts are widely viewed as excessive, and even as teams thrive financially, most are leery of making such commitments to players who may be declining.
The Phillies’ top baseball operations officials know Arrieta well, though not from his prime years. Andy MacPhail, the team president, and Matt Klentak, the general manager, worked for Baltimore when Arrieta reached the majors in 2010. He pitched decently for the Orioles, if inconsistently, in his first two seasons.
Arrieta won the Cy Young Award that season by going 22-6 with a 1.77 E.R.A., and he pitched the Cubs into the division series by shutting out Pittsburgh in the National League wild-card game. He had worked nearly 250 innings by the end of that postseason, and with better rest the next year, he won two World Series starts in helping the Cubs to a long-awaited title.